Activist Resources for Amnesty International's 60th Anniversary

We are excited to be celebrating Amnesty International’s 60th Anniversary – this means we have been challenging injustice since the 60s! We want to highlight how significant this milestone is, that the global community campaigns together for the better protection of human rights around the world and in doing so inspires more people to join our movement. 60 years of strangers supporting strangers; 60 years of individuals taking on oppressors and governments; 60 years of fighting for fundamental human rights.

We are setting the bar high for this celebration and aim to support 60 events across the nation. This is a moment that brings us together and invites others to join the movement. Find out how you can get involved below!

Click on the events on our map to find more information:

Challenge Injustice – Australian Human Rights Act 

A national Human Rights Act for Australia may sound like a new or unknown concept. However in fact, it actually incorporates all the work on domestic campaigns everyone has been working on. A Human Rights Act encapsulates everything we do. Amnesty International has been working on improving human rights for 60 years. We are now at a point in our history where it’s time to have a Human Rights Act in Australia. A national Act would ensure the rights of all are upheld and all of the human rights wins we have achieved over the last 60 years are enshrined. If this is something you feel passionate about here is the link to the online petition and offline petition.

It also important to note that all of our campaigns, including My New Neighbour, Game over, Indigenous Rights, LQBTQI rights, fall under the umbrella of a Human Rights Act.

A Human Rights Act is vital for Australia. It will underpin many of the human rights we are trying to uphold. It will make a difference to the lives of so many people, particularly those on the margins of our society.

Katrina North, Amnesty activist for 20 years.

Lets Get to Work!

Over the past 60 years we have achieved countless successes, from seeing thousands of prisoners of conscience released, to pushing powerful governments and corporations to account for human rights violations. Together, we are celebrating the power of a collective movement to achieve change and building the belief that change is possible. We want to celebrate all the work Amnesty has done over the years, as well as the work that still needs to be done to protect human rights into the future! 

To celebrate this anniversary we are asking you, your action groups, and your friends and family to commemorate this milestone with us. By hosting an event, grand or intimate, you will become a part of this special occasion, an occasion that gives us the space to celebrate and inspire people to take action. Events to be held in the month of May, which includes both National Volunteer Week from May 17-23 and the 60th anniversary on May 28. If you can’t hold an event in person there are many ways you can host your own online event or even join in an event close to where you live. There is no set way to celebrate! 

Planning Your Event  

As always, please submit your event, large or small, via the Host an Event page so that we can include your event as one of our 60 for the 60th! Our supporter care team will be in contact with you and provide you with options for support. It’s super easy and we just ask that you use the heading “60th Anniversary – event name”. If you would like some ideas and suggestions of events you can host, here are a few ideas to get you started. 

EXAMPLES OF TYPES OF EVENTS – check out our Events and Tactics Planning guide for more ideas 

  • Morning/afternoon tea/a meal with fellow activists (and invite people from your local community)
  • You might like to host a community “toast to freedom”.
  • Art exhibition
  • Organise an offline or online film screening and get attendees to write a letter before the screening starts by printing them off before the event or  emailing them a letter template
  • If you run a regular stall, you could create a 60th anniversary themed set up
  • Bring a cake along to work with some actions people can take
  • Host a social event at a local bar/restaurant/cafe
  • Approach your local library about having a 60th anniversary display (you could name other things/people that are 60 years old!)
  • Organise a trivia night/afternoon
  • Get your school/class to make a birthday card for Amnesty or download the card colouring in template from our website. You can send your decorated birthday/anniversary cards to your local AIA office or state/federal Member of Parliament with a personal message. To find your local MPs contact details simply go to the Australian Parliament House contact page.
  • Take photos of your birthday/anniversary card and share on social media
  • Get together with your family or flatmates and write birthday/anniversary cards to your local state/federal or Senator in Parliament. 

If you do host an event within your region or community please follow these Covid Safe Guidelines and comply with your state’s rules and recommendations. 

Let’s get creative! Ideas for your event.

Decorate a candle at home or create an origami candle with the name of the campaign you are supporting. Make it as colourful and inventive as you like! Invite friends, families or colleagues to take part, or make the creative action part of your event. Take a picture or a video of yourself with the candle and share on social media. Make sure you use the hashtag #Amnesty60 and tag @amnestyoz.

60th Birthday cards

Here is a 60th Anniversary/birthday card template that you can print off and invite people to write messages in and send to regional Amnesty offices to be pinned on walls.

  • Consider sending a card to Politicians (could be accompanied by the AIA candle you decorate). You could stick with the message in the template or add something like, “we are turning 60, will you gift us with your commitment to upholding human rights?”. You may wish to write your own message and send to local/federal MP around the campaign you are working on. 

Printing instructions: This is a card so here are some easy steps to follow when printing.

  • Print a test copy first to make sure you have the right settings.
  • Once you press “print” you will have a range of settings to choose from. You need to choose ‘print on both sides’ and ‘flip on short edge’ (found in more settings”)  when printing for the orientation to come out correctly.

Promoting your event

Reaching out to the media raises awareness of how your group is challenging injustice.

Send a media release

A media release is a relatively old-fashioned way to reach journalists in the most efficient way possible. All the resources you need to capture the media’s attention for the 60th Birthday are being saved in this media folder for you including a template media release you can use. To write a media release, use the inverted pyramid – give all the important information in the first paragraph, and add details in subsequent paragraphs. You have to compete for the journalists’ attention, so you should always begin with what is new and with a headline. 

Then you can send it to all the relevant media outlets and journalists in your area – TV, radio, online, and newspapers. Always copy in the general contact email address just in case. Send the release about a week before your event.

List your event

Listing your event in a local newspaper or community newsletter is an extremely easy way to drum up interest in your event. There are a wide range of listing websites which give you free listings. You simply need a blurb about your event, all the details of how someone can be involved, and an image to go with it.

A Brief History of Amnesty

The story of Amnesty International began in 1961, when two Portuguese students were jailed just for raising a toast to freedom. In response, a British lawyer named Peter Benenson penned the article The Forgotten Prisoners, for the UK’s Observer newspaper. In the article, he voiced that the global trend of imprisoning, torturing or executing people due to their political views or religious orientation was unacceptable. It was Benneson’s vision to inspire and organise collective action that has defined the work of Amnesty International to this day.

60 years on, we have grown beyond a single office in Peter Benenson’s London lawyer’s chambers. We are now the global human rights movement, of over ten million people and in more than 150 countries. Our work has grown to protect and empower people facing human rights violations. Together, we are taking action for human rights around the world. Together, we shine a light on great wrongs by exposing the facts others try to suppress. We lobby governments, and those in power, to make sure they keep their promises and respect international law. Through education and training we help people claim their rights. And by telling people’s powerful stories we mobilise millions around the world to campaign for change.

Let us know how you went!

Useful resources

  • Skill up via our online training modules! The Events & Tactics and the Structured Conversations on Campaigns guides are really helpful.
    Check out this Events & Tactics Training video led by our Skills Facilitator, Brenna.
  • Keep track of upcoming opportunities via your Activism Planner
  • How to make your Virtual Event inclusive
  • Campaigning for human rights can be difficult. Burnout and vicarious trauma can happen and it’s important to keep a look out for the signs in yourself and your friends. You can check out our Sustainable Activism & Self Care guide and workshop which you can find here. It examines how we can better take care of ourselves as activists and what you can do to make sure your activism is sustainable!

Check out some of the coverage for Amnesty’s 50th anniversary here.